Plumbing Fixtures That Conserve

Reader Contribution by Bruce Mcelmurray
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We have advanced one more step toward living more environmentally friendly. I ascribe to the concept if it isn’t broken don’t try to fix it. When we first built our home twenty years ago we had a water closet; commode; or toilet (use the term that suits you) that used six plus gallons of water with each flush. We had initially purchased a toilet that fit in the space available  but like most other things toilets break down or become obsolete too. We also didn’t consider ever having to replace the toilet. More efficient toilets came along that only take 1.6 gallons of water to flush and the old toilets like ours were no longer sold or available. We had been happy with our initial purchase but when our old conventional toilet started to malfunction we started to shop for a new replacement. We quickly discovered that the new toilets were all either one or two inches taller in the back and more narrow than our old toilet. In some cases shopping on the internet is easier and generally successful but when it comes to finding a replacement toilet with specific dimensions that would fit it was much too time consuming. There was no fast or easy way we found to compare different size toilets without opening each single one and searching for the dimension we needed. We therefore went to our reliable plumbing supply – Husmann Plumbing in Alamosa.  They have been in business for 35 years and are the go to place for us when we have a plumbing problem.  As usual they came through and did the research for us and found a one piece toilet by Kohler called the Rialto that would fit and was not too tall in the back.   

Price wise the Rialto cost approximately five times more than our old toilet initially cost but when you live in an A-Frame sometimes it is hard to fit a square peg in a round hole. Our side walls angle in and up making it hard to find a replacement toilet. If we were to do it over again I would plumb to an inside wall making it easier to find a replacement. This particular toilet fits very well and uses a fraction of our valuable well water per flush. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was. No noisy gurgling noises plus when the tank is filling it is virtually silent. That could have something to do with the fact it took two of us carry it inside.  This is a very heavy unit that is solidly built yet attractive – or at least as attractive as this fixture can be. With the assistance of Valley ROTO Rooter owner, John, we had the new toilet from the box to fully installed in less than 30 minutes. I would suggest to anyone intending to install this brand toilet that you have some help due to its weight. It took two of us, one on each side,  to lift it up and fit it over the bolts to anchor it in place. Having John available to help made it much less complicated.

We don’t know why our old toilet lost its efficiency but we suspect that it may have something to do with the mineralization that has built up, or using tank cleaners over the years inside the unit. We used in-tank toilet bowl cleaners over the years and some of those contained chemicals that may have also eroded the interior porcelain. The only way to really determine what caused the problem is to break the old unit apart for inspection. My curiosity is not that demanding to go to all that trouble. It has to be one or the other that caused the problem and most likely a combination of both.  

Over the years appliances and fixtures have been better engineered to conserve water.  Shower heads, (we have a water saver on our shower) toilets and washing machines come to mind. While electronic advances are mind boggling and hard to keep abreast of the more conventional advances that we seem to take for granted are equally improved. We are happy to say that our home with the new toilet has become extremely environmentally friendly. We now have installed the final item that gives us a very low carbon footprint and still have the needed function to live comfortably.

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